Monday, September 26, 2011

The Mississippi Project: the Why and Wherefores

I don't know if gamer friends understand me.  Sometimes I feel they think I choose projects just to see how weird I can be.  (Of course, I played Bruce Meyer's Jurassic Reich game, and there ain't much weirder than that.  Fun but weird.)  What usually draws me in is my interest in historical circumstances.  The Lewis and Clark project rose out of my interest in the expedition, but also that Spain actually did make an effort to intercept the Captains and their charges.  My latest project I'll simply call my Mississippi Project.  Again, another hypothetical conflict between the United States and Spain, but based very much on historical circumstances.

1794 map of the southern United States showing border with Spanish territories.  Spain rightly feared American encroachment in Spanish possessions, particularly an effort to wrest New Orleans from their control.
Between 1797 and 1807, U.S. and Spanish armies faced off several times over the official borders between the upstart, covetous Americans and the fading Spanish empire.  In several cases the U.S. government rushed elements of its tiny regular forces to enforce its claims.  At other times conflict could have been precipitated by frontier militias anxious to pry loose Spanish fingers from the Mississippi River chokepoint of New Orleans. The Burr Conspiracy of 1806 was just such a potential conflict. From Florida to Louisiana, from Texas to New Mexico (Spanish provinces, not states,) both sides provided ample provocations to raise the ire of the other.  The Lewis and Clark expedition and  Zebulon Pike's exploring party, both organized and equipped by the U.S. military, were considered tests that had to be met to sustain the Spanish empire in America at the same time the Americans extended their imperial aspirations across the continent.

This project will also weave together two other semi-projects.  When they first became available I bought some of the Old Glory Wayne's Legion figures and didn't really do much with them.  It didn't help that the light infantry figures were incorrect and I wasn't sold on Darryl Smith's Our Moccasins Trickled Blood rules.  Eventually I painted up some of the figures for Virginia militia in the War of 1812 and others for Lewis and Clark.  This project will allow me to paint all my remaining Wayne's Legion figures in the 1796 pattern uniform, but I'll also commit to playing all three periods.  I can do actions from the Fallen Timbers campaign, it keeps Lewis and Clark alive but no longer a one trick pony affair. And then there is the war of nerves between the U.S. and Spain in which American uniforms change drastically, but I'm not sweating it (and nobody makes them anyway

The really nice part of this project is that it's already partly completed.  The Spanish troops are all painted except for a pair of irregular cavalry units and some guns and gunners.  I do need to paint more Americans but not that many.  My Indians are all finished and desperate to be let out of their box. I would like to buy another 30 of the wonderful Perry Southern militia figures from their AWI range, but otherwise I own all the figs.

In posts that follow I'll share some of the troop types and provide pics of completed units.  I'll also share my ideas for a mini-campaign I have percolating, as well as sources in case something like this piques your own interest.

1 comment:

DougH said...

Whoa, with wargamer's thoughts like that, Freud would go crazy . However it is a great project and a great idea; nice what-if war, small in scale yet with big potential for games. Doug H.
BTW lost my emails. PM me.